Juventus announced it has triggered the €18.5 million clause to make Weston McKennie's move from Schalke permanent.
Juve initially paid €4.5 million to loan McKennie in August for the 2020-21 season. He has since become a staple of the midfield, making 14 starts in 21 Serie A appearances.
The loan initially looked a bit risky for the 22-year-old. Going from Schalke to Juventus was undoubtedly a step up in terms of prestige, but playing time looked like it might be hard to come by. Arthur just arrived from Barcelona, while Aaron Ramsey, Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot were holdovers from last season.
However, McKennie has given first-year manager Andrea Pirlo little choice but to regularly include him in the lineup. His four Serie A goals are fourth-highest in the squad, and WhoScored.com rates him as Juve's seventh-best player (6.92) in league play this season.
Most tellingly, Pirlo has started McKennie in four Champions League matches and brought him on as a substitute in another two fixtures. The United States men's national team star scored in Juve's 3-0 group-stage victory over Barcelona on Dec. 8.
Signing McKennie beyond this season became a no-brainer for both parties.
One way or another, his permanent departure from Schalke was inevitable as the German side sits at the bottom of the Bundesliga with nine points through 23 matches. His loan deal was precipitated by Schalke's financial situation, which will only get worse in the event they get relegated.
For Juventus, this could be a home run.
McKennie's transfer fee could eventually climb to €25 million, which would still wind up being a bargain. Transfermarkt estimated McKennie's value at $27.5 million in December, up from $24.2 million in October. In the event Juventus ever wanted to send him elsewhere, they would have little trouble recouping their investment and then some.